The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films (150-51)

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Memories of Murder

Memories of Murder

2003 / South Korea / 130m / Col / Crime, Police Drama
Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Hae-il Park, Roe-ha Kim, Jae-ho Song, Hie-bong Byeon, Tae-ho Ryu, No-shik Park, Seo-hie Ko, Mi-seon Jeon
"A police procedural like no other, Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder has the epic aura of a sociographic novel, but you won't see a less pretentious movie this year. Set in 1986 and loosely based on what's been called South Korea's first serial-killer case, the film encourages ambivalences to grow like super-weeds, gumming up what is traditionally experienced as the most logical of narrative pleasures... It's an altogether remarkable piece of work, deepening the genre while whipping its skin off, satirizing an entire nation's nearsighted apathy as it wonders, almost aloud, about the nature of truth, evidence, and social belonging." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Isamu Hirabayashi, Wang Xiaolu, Jin Jieli, Ye Xindai.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Inception

Inception

2010 / USA-UK / 148m / Col / Sci-Fi Action, Psychological Sci-Fi
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Dileep Rao
"The movies often seem to come from the recycling bin these days: Sequels, remakes, franchises. Inception does a difficult thing. It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does… Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman. This time he isn't reinventing anything. Yet few directors will attempt to recycle Inception. I think when Nolan left the labyrinth, he threw away the map." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Andrew Yusu Cheng, Huang Yixi, Chen Ruxiu, Manfred Wong, Anna Smith.
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Carol

Carol

2015 / UK-USA / 118m / Col / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley, Nik Pajic, Carrie Brownstein
"Todd Haynes has turned Patricia Highsmith's novel of lesbian love in Fifties New York into an exceptionally beautiful film, with a career-best performance from Cate Blanchett. Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see. More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience. It’s hard to imagine a director handling this project more surely than Todd Haynes, a supreme chronicler of feminine emotional pain - from Safe through Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce - who reasserts his status here as one of the greats." - Tim Robey, The Telegraph
Selected by A.O. Scott, John Waters, Mike D'Angelo, Owen Gleiberman, Peter Bradshaw.
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Moolaade

Moolaadé

2004 / Senegal-Burkina Faso-Morocco-Tunisia-Cameroon-Switzerland-Germany / 120m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Fatoumata Coulibaly, Maimouna Helene Diarra, Salimata Traore, Dominique Zeida, Mah Compaore, Aminata Dao, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Ousmane Konate, Bakaramoko Sanogo, Modibo Sangare
"Moolaadé, which unfolds in rural West Africa, is a brilliantly effective reworking of old-school agitprop, complete with bravura group theatrics… Presented as a parable, Moolaadé is a work of unpretentious simplicity and formal eloquence. For Sembene, who considers it the most African of his films, Moolaadé follows Faat Kiné (2000) as the second movie in a trilogy on contemporary women… Moolaadé may be didactic, but it never sacrifices play on the altar of preachiness. Drawing on the village's expressive gregariousness, Sembene makes his points through a "naturally" Brechtian combination of masks, musical numbers, and socially constructed characters." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sheila Johnston, Wanuri Kahiu, Philip Kemp, Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott.
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Volver

Volver

2006 / Spain / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Tragi-comedy
Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Antonio de La Torre, Carlos Blanco, Maria Isabel Diaz, Neus Sanz, Blanca Portillo
"Drawing on influences ranging from Latin American telenovelas to classic Hollywood weepies and on an iconography of female endurance that includes Anna Magnani and Joan Crawford, Pedro Almodóvar has made yet another picture that moves beyond camp into a realm of wise, luxuriant humanism... To relate the details of the narrative — death, cancer, betrayal, parental abandonment, more death — would create an impression of dreariness and woe. But nothing could be further from the spirit of Volver, which is buoyant without being flip, and consoling without ever becoming maudlin." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Charles Barr, Li Shaohong, Ahmed Atef, Charity Wakefield, A.O. Scott.
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Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo Jima

2006 / USA / 140m / Col / War Drama, Combat Film
Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando, Yuki Matsuzaki, Takashi Yamaguchi, Eijiro Ozaki
"Eloquent, bloody, and daringly simple, the movie examines notions of wartime glory as closely as Flags of Our Fathers dissected heroism… Written by Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis and based on the real General Kuribayashi's posthumously published correspondence, Letters represents filmmaking so assured it can take your breath away. Eastwood has pruned all affectation from his directing style, leaving a movie that feels straight and true. Tom Stern's cinematography is leached of colors except for the red sun on the flag and the orange blooms of bombardments: action and consequence." - Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
Selected by Sheila Schvarzman, Joseph McBride, Stig Bjorkman, A.O. Scott, Laurence Kardish.
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Devils on the Doorstep

Devils on the Doorstep

Guizi lai le (original title)
2000 / China / 139m / Col-BW / Comedy, War
Wen Jiang, Yihong Jiang, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ding Yuan, Zhijun Cong, Zi Xi, Haibin Li, Kenya Sawada, Weidong Cai, Lianmei Chen
"Jiang Wen's grimly amusing antiwar film Devils on the Doorstep is set in an impoverished farming village in northern China near the Great Wall during the winter of 1944 and '45… With its vertiginous black-and-white cinematography, narrative leaps and starts, twisty story and large pool of characters, Devils on the Doorstep, is not an easy movie. But in its dry and forceful way, it delivers the same message as Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains and Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land. While acknowledging that war is hell, it goes further to suggest it is ludicrous." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Lou Ye, Li Yang, Yang Shupeng, Li Hongyu, Tien Hsiang-Wen.
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35 Shots of Rum

35 Shots of Rum

35 rhums (original title)
2008 / France-Germany / 101m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Nicole Dogue, Gregoire Colin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Djedje Apali, Eriq Ebouaney, Ingrid Caven, Stephane Pocrain, Julieth Mars Toussaint
"Recent American films about families all too often pierce eardrums with unrelenting shrieks of dysfunction and misery. Amid the din, French filmmaker Claire Denis's sublime 35 Shots of Rum stands out all the more for its soothing quiet, conveying the easy, frequently nonverbal intimacy between a widowed father, Lionel (Descas), and his diligent university-student daughter, Joséphine (Diop). An homage to both Yasujiro Ozu's similarly themed Late Spring (1949) and her own mother's relationship with her grandfather, 35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation." - Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice
Selected by Ian Wild, Hynek Pallas, Karim Aïnouz, Mónica Delgado, Therese Grisham.
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The Circle

The Circle

Dayereh (original title)
2000 / Iran-Italy-Switzerland / 90m / Col / Drama, Escape Film
Maryam Parvin Almani, Nargess Mamizadeh, Fereshteh Sadr Orafal, Mojgane Faramarzi, Elham Saboktakin, Monire Arab, Solmaz Panahi, Fatemeh Naghavi, Maedeh Tahmasbi, Maryam Shayegane
"A harrowingly powerful film by Jafar Panahi which shows that Iranian cinema is not purely a matter of parable, fable and childhood innocence - it can be disquietingly explicit about the real-life adult world. This is the story of four women bullied and marginalised by a society that makes no bones whatever about men having all the cards - it is remarkable to think that merely to allude to this fact is a dissentient act in modern Iran, and it is at the heart of the reason why Panahi's film was banned there… This is a compelling, humane and deeply serious film." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Michael Koller, Iciar Bollain, Roumuald Karmakar, Dudley Andrew, David Stratton.
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The New World

The New World

2005 / USA / 135m / Col / Historical Film, Romantic Drama
Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Ben Mendelsohn, Raoul Trujillo, John Savage
"With most movies, a shorthand description or a reference to another film is enough to convey a sense of the experience. But Terrence Malick's The New World is not like any other movie. In its emotional effect and in the ways it makes its points, this motion picture is much more akin to poetry or music. Malick uses cinema in a way no one else uses it, in a way that no one else has ever used it. Through elliptical and seemingly oblique methods, he forges moments of staggering emotional power." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Chris Stults, Duane Hopkins, Keeto Lam, Christophe Goffette, Ulrich Hocherl.
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

2007 / USA-Canada-UK / 160m / Col / Western, Psychological Western
Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Brooklyn Proulx, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Paul Schneider, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Parks
"It happened with regularity in the '70s, but every once in a while, a major studio accidentally produces a work of art like The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford—a dark, iconoclastic Western that lacks clear heroes and villains, tucks its only shoot 'em up sequence in the opening reel, and closes on a note of profound ambiguity and regret. In look and tone, it recalls moody revisionist Westerns like McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Shooting, but with a special attentiveness to the natural world that's closer to Terrence Malick." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by David Michôd, Guy Maddin, Michael Atkinson, Todd McCarthy, Tom Charity.
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Flight of the Red Balloon

Flight of the Red Balloon

Le Voyage du ballon rouge (original title)
2007 / France-Taiwan / 115m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Juliette Binoche, Simon Iteanu, Fang Song, Hippolyte Girardot, Louise Margolin, Anna Sigalevitch, Flore Vannier-Moreau, Gregory Dreyfuss, William Hatig, Clara Dumont
"The shadow of Albert Lamorisse's 1956 fantasy The Red Balloon hovers over Hou Hsiao-hsien's drama. The magical balloon with a mind and a heart of its own tags along after a young boy (Iteanu), placidly and wistfully looking in on the gentle child and his nanny, while its image is echoed in paintings and other references during Hou's lovely tour of Paris. At the center of the film is a single mother (Binoche)… Hou's first film made outside of Asia is his most emotionally turbulent, yet he remains, like the balloon, outside looking in, a compassionate but distant observer capturing it all with a graceful restraint and floating beauty that ultimately carried me away with it." - Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Selected by J. Hoberman, Andrew O'Hehir, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Graham Fuller, John Anderson.
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Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast

2000 / UK-Spain-USA / 88m / Col / Crime Thriller, Gangster Film
Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, Cavan Kendall, Julianne White, Alvaro Monje, James Fox, Robert Atiko, Nieves del Amo Oruet
"This stylish, jolting and surprisingly moving gangster picture is lifted above the conventions of the genre by Jonathan Glazer's smooth, syncopated direction and the wit and grit of the cast. Ray Winstone plays Gal, a retired London gangster whose idyllic life in Spain is interrupted by the arrival of Don Logan (Kingsley), who wants to recruit Gal for a complicated heist. Mr. Winstone's slow-moving magnetism is a perfect foil for Mr. Kingsley's terrifying intensity. Amanda Redman, as Gal's tough and devoted wife, helps to give the picture a welcome and unexpected depth of feeling." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Samuel Wigley, Nick James, A.O. Scott, Kenneth Turan.
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My Winnipeg

My Winnipeg

2007 / Canada-USA / 80m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Social History
Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Amy Stewart, Louis Negin, Brendan Cade, Wesley Cade, Lou Profeta, Fred Dunsmore, Kate Yacula, Jacelyn Lobay
"Guy Maddin's homage to his home town of Winnipeg is an outstanding and often hilarious piece of film-making… Yes, it's a brief, black-and-white autobiographical essay on the film-maker's home town, an often snowbound burgh in distant Manitoba. But it's also a Guy Maddin film, which means it resembles no documentary you've seen... Probably the only film ever to mix Freud, Proust and a love of ice hockey, My Winnipeg is a joyous, mischievous, hilarious flight of fancy. It's also a strangely profound demonstration of the way film can reanimate faded memory and bring ghosts back to life." - Jonathan Romney, The Independent
Selected by Paula Arantzazu Ruiz, Jason Anderson, Jim Sinclair, José Teodoro, Laurence Kardish.
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Waking Life

Waking Life

2001 / USA / 100m / Col / Ensemble Film, Animation
Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins, Glover Gill, Lara Hicks, Ames Asbell, Leigh Mahoney, Sara Nelson, Jeanine Attaway, Erik Grostic
"Free will versus determinism, dreams versus reality are among the topics addressed by Richard Linklater's witty, "trippy" voyage into the Twilight Zone in which an assortment of characters spout contradictory theories of human consciousness. The technically innovative movie finds the perfect metaphor for the philosophic paradoxes in its visual style: live action transformed into a cartoon by digital animation. The spiels are funny and humane. Wiley Wiggins is the zonked-out everyman who absorbs them on a dreamlike journey from which he finds himself unable to awaken." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Pierre Lam, David Jenkins, Kevin B. Lee, Roger Ebert, Andrew Bujalski.
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United 93

United 93

2006 / USA-UK-France / 110m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Christian Clemenson, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin, Gary Commock, Nancy McDoniel, David Alan Basche, Richard Bekins, Susan Blommaert
"This, as everyone will know by now, is a controversial, scrupulously researched reconstruction of what happened on the morning of 11 September 2001, when four Arab terrorists took over United Airlines Flight 93… The movie is gripping from first to last, partly because, like a Greek tragedy, we are only too aware of where everything is heading and partly because we are simultaneously taken back to that day that shook the world and experience the events through the eyes of the innocent passengers and the puzzled observers on the ground." - Philip French, The Observer
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, Gavin Smith, John Waters, Michael Atkinson, Owen Gleiberman.
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In the Bedroom

In the Bedroom

2001 / USA / 130m / Col / Family Drama, Crime Drama
Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, William Mapother, William Wise, Celia Weston, Karen Allen, Frank T. Wells, W. Clapham Murray
"In this perfectly observed, wrenchingly acted drama, Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson are the Fowlers, a middle-class couple living in Camden, a quiet, picturesque Maine fishing town. Their lives are torn apart when their only child, a 21-year-old son, is murdered by his girlfriend's jealous husband. Learning that a legal technicality ensures that the killer will serve only a light sentence, they are beside themselves with grief, anger and mutual recrimination. In exploring the psychological processes of grief and revenge, the profoundly quiet, deeply disturbing film doesn't make a misstep." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Lance Edmands, Cüneyt Cebenoyan, Roger Ebert, Owen Gleiberman, Richard Schickel.
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Holy Motors

Holy Motors

2012 / France-Germany / 116m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Fantasy
Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli, Leos Carax, Nastya Golubeva Carax, Reda Oumouzoune
"Films are always getting described as surreal, whether they are or not. But this year we saw a genuinely surrealist movie. Leos Carax's Holy Motors is unfettered by logic and common sense; it takes off in all directions – inspired by Cocteau, Franju, Lynch, Buñuel, Muybridge, Kafka, Lewis Carroll and many more… And what is the point of this film? Its point is to dunk us in a delicious bath of unreason, to create pleasure. And having achieved that, its purpose is to meditate – capriciously, playfully – on the role-play we all have to master on our limo-ride through life… And apart from everything else, Holy Motors somehow manages to be very funny. What a gem it is." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Claudia Siefen, Kevin B. Lee, Robbie Collin, Ty Burr, Manohla Dargis.
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The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right

2010 / USA / 106m / Col / Comedy Drama, Domestic Comedy
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Yaya DaCosta, Kunal Sharma, Eddie Hassell, Zosia Mamet, Joaquin Garrido
"I’m tempted to start this review by falling back on a tried-and-true movie critic formulation and saying something like “Lisa Cholodenko’s Kids Are All Right is the best comedy about an American family since...” Since what? Precedents and grounds for comparison seem to be lacking, so I may have to let the superlative stand unqualified for now. Which is fine: Ms. Cholodenko’s film is so canny in its insights and so agile in its negotiation of complex emotions that it deserves to stand on its own. It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Jan Göransson, Cyrus Frisch, Leonard Maltin, Ty Burr, Roger Ebert.
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The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale

2005 / USA / 80m / Col / Coming-of-Age, Family Drama
Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Halley Feiffer, Anna Paquin, William Baldwin, David Benger, Molly Barton, Bo Berkman
"Told largely from the point of view of Walt Berkman (Eisenberg), a 16-year-old enduring the breakup of his parents' marriage in mid-1980's Park Slope, Brooklyn, The Squid and the Whale is both sharply comical and piercingly sad. Mr. Baumbach surveys the members of the flawed, collapsing Berkman family with sympathy but without mercy, noting their individual and collective failures and imperfections with relentless precision." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Leonard Maltin, A.O. Scott, Peter Keough, David Ansen, Kenneth Turan.
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The Man Without a Past

The Man Without a Past

Mies vailla menneisyyttä (original title)
2002 / Finland-Germany-France / 97m / Col / Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners
Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Juhani Niemela, Annikki Tahti, Kaija Pakarinen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Esko Nikkari, Outi Maenpaa, Pertti Sveholm, Anneli Sauli
"The impish Aki Kaurismaki fills this proletarian fable with music and color. The hero, a jowly, sad-faced welder (Peltola), wakes up after a vicious mugging to find himself suffering from complete amnesia. But his state of dislocation turns out also to be a state of grace… The movie, with its easy, graceful humor and its plainspoken sense of decency, recalls the great populist films of the 1930's and early 40's: there are traces of Charlie Chaplin, Preston Sturges and Frank Capra in Mr. Kaurismaki's democractic aesthetic, and like them he has made a simple, poignant comedy whose intended audience is nothing less than the human race." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Mania Akbari, Tan Chui Mui, Philip Yung, Jan Schulz-Ojala, Izibene Oñederra.
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Head-On

Head-On

Gegen die Wand (original title)
2004 / Germany-Turkey / 121m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Birol Unel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Meltem Cumbul, Stefan Gebelhoff, Francesco Fiannaca, Mona Mur, Ralph Misske, Philipp Baltus, Hermann Lause
"At times, Head-On is so unremittingly excitable, so pumped with catastrophe that I felt like sending the entire cast to their rooms for a time-out. But in its breathlessly claustrophobic way the movie is vital and passionate, and lit with a lyric beauty that washes over love scenes and violent acts alike. Framed by songs of doomed love from a band of traditional Turk musicians playing at the edge of the Bosporus, with the lovely minarets of Istanbul visible in the distance, the movie achieves a Romeo-and-Juliet romanticism that's hard to resist." - Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
Selected by Drake Doremus, Nana Asfour, Mania Akbari, Anurag Kashyap, Guillermo Arriaga.
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Man on Wire

Man on Wire

2008 / UK-USA / 94m / Col / Biography, Documentary
Philippe Petit, Jean-Francois Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, David 'Donald' Foreman, Alan Welner, Mark Lewis, N. Barry Greenhouse, Jim Moore, Guy Tozzoli
"This exhilarating film treats French aerialist Philippe Petit's Aug. 7, 1974, walk between the twin towers of New York's 110-story World Trade Center as if it were a daring bank robbery. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century. Made by director James Marsh with the human interest of a psychological drama and the "You Are There" factor of a classic doc as well as the pace of a thriller, Man on Wire underlines the fact that often the events most worth investigating are the ones we think we already know everything about." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Tim Lucas, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Anders Ostergaard, André Singer, Andy Glynne.
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Summer Hours

Summer Hours

L'Heure d'été (original title)
2008 / France / 103m / Col / Ensemble Film, Family Drama
Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jeremie Renier, Edith Scob, Dominique Reymond, Valerie Bonneton, Isabelle Sadoyan, Alice de Lencquesaing, Emile Berling, Kyle Eastwood
"Universally acclaimed by critics, the multiple award-winning Summer Hours is the great contemporary French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’s most personal film to date. Three siblings, played by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jérémie Rénier, must decide what to do with the country estate and objects they’ve inherited from their mother. From this simple story, Assayas creates an exquisitely nuanced drama about the material of globalized modern living. Naturalistic and unsentimental, Summer Hours is that rare film that pays respect to family by treating it with honesty." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Toni Ulled, Kent Jones, Graham Fuller, Phillip Lopate, John Powers.
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12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

2013 / USA-UK / 134m / Col / Period Film, Rural Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Lupita Nyong'o, Alfre Woodard, Michael K. Williams
"The best movie ever made about slavery is also the best movie of the year. No prettified classroom study for director Steve McQueen, a visual artist and visceral provocateur of the first rank. He rubs our noses in the horrific true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man living in New York in 1841 until he becomes enslaved in the Deep South. Ejiofor, his eyes pools of torment, is an acting giant. This is one for the time capsule." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Peter Bradshaw, David Ehrenstein, James Verniere, Jay Stone, Duane Dudek.
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Avatar

Avatar

2009 / USA-UK / 161m / Col / Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Action
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, Joel Moore, C.C.H. Pounder, Stephen Lang
"The computerized creation that is Pandora overflows with beauty and terror (those banshees are a wonder) that dwarves the mundane stuff where the villains, military (Lang) and corporate (Ribisi), bluster with predictable results. The last third of the movie, a battle between the Na'vi and their human destroyers, is a groundbreaking blend of digital and live-action. OK, it's unnerving that a movie preaching peace hits its visual peak with scenes of mass destruction. But Avatar is no Hollywood wankfest. It extends the possibilities of what movies can do. Cameron's talent may just be as big as his dreams." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Cyrus Frisch, Michael Mann, Roger Corman, Venkateswaran Narayanan, Scott MacDonald.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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About Schmidt

About Schmidt

2002 / USA / 125m / Col / Comedy Drama, Black Comedy
Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates, June Squibb, Howard Hesseman, Len Cariou, Harry Groener, Connie Ray, Mark Venhuizen
"Alexander Payne's About Schmidt is an impressively bleak comedy with intimations of social satire. Like Payne's previous Citizen Ruth and Election, it's essentially a character study set against the flat normality of the filmmaker's native Nebraska. Payne's dedication to fly-over country is the mark of his integrity. Indeed, in adapting the basic situation of Louis Begley's 1996 novel—the sixtysomething hero's wife dies as he is forced into retirement and his only child prepares to marry a man he dislikes—the filmmaker has made a fascinating transposition of the material." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Borja Cobeaga, Nigel Cole, Leonard Maltin, Gerald Peary, Owen Gleiberman.
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The Pianist

The Pianist

2002 / France-Poland-Germany-UK / 148m / Col / Drama, War
Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Michael Zebrowski, Ed Stoppard, Maureen Lipman, Frank Finlay, Jessica Kate Meyer, Julia Rayner, Wanja Mues, Richard Ridings
"Polanski, filming in Poland for the first time in 40 years, has made one of the finest films yet about the catastrophe the Nazis visited on Poland and its Jewish population. Adrien Brody, in a fluid, understated and thoroughly unsentimental performance, plays Wladislaw Szpilman, a popular concert pianist who survived, against odds that can only be described as absurd… With relentless clarity, Mr. Polanski tracks the deterioration of his hero's situation and the day-in, day-out assault on his humanity. There are scenes of unwatchable brutality as well as of kindness and solidarity, but what is most remarkable is the sense of daily life in impossible conditions." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Chuck Bowen, Zhang Jiarui, Ty Burr, Leonard Maltin, Nanni Moretti.
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Gladiator

Gladiator

2000 / USA-UK / 154m / Col / Sword-and-Sandal, Historical Epic
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Thomas Arana
"A generation after changing audience tastes and crippling budgets banished lavish ancient historical spectacle from the screen, Ridley Scott re-enters the arena with Gladiator, and it's a stunning Roman triumph. Much has been made of the use of modern screen technology and a cast of thousands that comes courtesy of super-computers, but that should not eclipse the urgent contemporary themes that Scott explores. Throughout this captivating movie, Scott builds a bridge between the beginning of the first millennium and the end of the second." - Desmond Ryan, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Selected by Marwan Hamed, Kathleen Murphy, Barry Norman, Frank Darabont, Owen Gleiberman.
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Ten

Ten

10 (alternative spelling)
2002 / France-Iran / 92m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Urban Drama
Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Roya Arabshahi, Katayoun Taleidzadeh, Mandana Sharbaf, Armene Moradi
"Breezily naturalistic yet disconcertingly self-reflexive, Abbas Kiarostami’s films deny their audiences the traditional comforts of movie-going… His newest movie is a dependably brainy provocation. Aggressively minimalist but far from stingy with its gifts, Ten is a disarmingly lifelike, yet formally rigorous, road movie. The premise is so simple, it’s high concept: two digital video cameras affixed to a car’s dashboard, one framing the driver, the other the passenger. The entire movie is comprised of conversations—10 in this case—between the two, as the car navigates the eerily familiar streets of downtown Tehran." - Elbert Ventura, PopMatters
Selected by Geoff Andrew, Kristy Matheson, Ruth Barton, Catherine Breillat, Lauren Bliss.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Her

Her

2013 / USA / 126m / Col / Romance, Science Fiction
Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Lyn Adrianna, Lisa Renee Pitts, Gabe Gomez, Chris Pratt, Artt Butler, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde
"A delicate, droll masterwork, writer-director Spike Jonze's Her sticks its neck out, all the way out, asserting that what the world needs now and evermore is love, sweet love. Preferably between humans, but you can't have everything all the time... I love this film, and I'm one of the most technophobic and least gadget-centric people on the planet. It's unusually witty science fiction and it's unfashionably sincere, as well as a work of such casual visual inspiration that a second viewing of Her feels more like a first." - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Selected by Stephen Hopkins, Edgar Wright, Wendy Ide, Charles Gant, David Ansen.
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Under the Skin

Under the Skin

2013 / UK-USA-Switzerland / 108m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, D. Meade, Krystof Hadek, Jessica Mance
"Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer's first film since 2004's Birth, is special because it's hard to pin down. It doesn't move or feel like most science fiction movies—like most movies, period. It's a film out of its time. Its time, I think, is the 1970s, when directors like Alexander Jodorowsky and Nicolas Roeg made viscerally intense features with subjective visuals and sound effects and music and dissociative editing… Is it perfect? Probably not. It might be too much of something, or too little of something else. Time will sort out the particulars. But I do know that the movie's sensibility is as distinctive as any I've seen. Under the Skin is hideously beautiful. Its life force is overwhelming." - Matt Zoller Seitz, Roger Ebert.com
Selected by Peter Bradshaw, Alfonso Cuarón, Pasquale Iannone, Robbie Collin, Guy Lodge.
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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox

2009 / USA / 87m / Col / Family-Oriented Comedy, Animation
George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wallace Wolodarsky, Eric Chase Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker
"Fantastic Mr. Fox is a proudly analog animated entertainment, making its handmade way into a marketplace glutted with digital goodies. Next to the three-dimensional, computer-generated creatures that swoop and soar off the screen these days, the furry talking animals on display here, with their matted pelts, jerky movements and porcelain eyes, might look a little quaint, like old-fashioned wind-up toys uneasily sharing the shelf with the latest video game platforms… Fantastic Mr. Fox, which Mr. Anderson wrote with Noah Baumbach, and which he has been hoping to make for many years, is in some ways his most fully realized and satisfying film." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Nag Vladermersky, Kevin B. Lee, Owen Gleiberman, Dave Calhoun, Richard Corliss.
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The Host

The Host

Gwoemul (original title)
2006 / South Korea-Japan / 119m / Col / Sci-Fi Horror, Monster Film
Kang-ho Song, Byeon Hie-bong, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae, Ah-sung Ko, Dal-su Oh, Jae-eung Lee, Dong-ho Lee, Je-moon Yoon, Pil-Sung Yim
"When was the last time you saw a really good mutant monster movie? The Host is the biggest commercial success in Korean cinema history and it's easy to see why. A cross between Godzilla and Jaws, it manages to be both truly scary and truly funny – sometimes all at once. It seems that the American military stationed in Seoul is responsible for dumping vast quantities of formaldehyde into the Han River. Years have passed, and the result is a gigantic serpentine horror that terrorizes the coastline… The direction by Bon Joon-ho has more than enough flair for this sort of thing." - Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Thierry Méranger, Marcelo Panozzo, Marcelo Alderete, Steven Boone, Quintín.
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The Queen

The Queen

2006 / UK-France-Italy-USA / 103m / Col / Family Drama, Political Drama
Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Tim McMullan, Robin Soans, Lela Peploe
"The Queen is an absolute delight, combining the cheap thrills of a biopic with the gentler, but more lasting, pleasures of a brilliant character study. It's also a very shrewd examination of power and a surprisingly warm exploration of a relationship. Set in 1997, it details the bond of trust that slowly develops between the 71-year-old Elizabeth and Tony Blair who, at 44, was the youngest prime minister in British history… Though it comes disguised as a wicked pleasure, The Queen is a sweet dream of England. And the ultimate buddy movie, besides." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Michael Brooke, Bertrand Tavernier, Geoff Andrew, Leonard Maltin, Glenn Kenny.
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Irreversible

Irréversible

2002 / France / 97m / Col / Crime Drama, Marriage Drama
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon, Stephane Drouot, Jean-Louis Costes, Michel Gondoin, Mourad Khima, Gaspar Noe
"It would be easy and convenient to dismiss Irreversible as blatant sensationalism. But Noé's bruising film is too artfully crafted to write off as exploitation. To see it is to absorb it, even against your will. Noé, the acclaimed French director of Carne and I Stand Alone, tells his story backward, as in Memento, but offers nothing as comforting as amnesia… Noé's considerable accomplishment is to examine the relationship between life and art, time and memory. Irreversible means to knock you for a loop. It does." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Stefan Popescu, Daniel Frampton, Billy Chainsaw, Rob Cohen, Anke Sterneborg.
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You Can Count on Me

You Can Count on Me

2000 / USA / 110m / Col / Drama, Family Drama
Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jon Tenney, Rory Culkin, J. Smith Cameron, Josh Lucas, Gaby Hoffmann, Adam Lefevre, Kenneth Lonergan
"This small realistic gem, set in an upstate New York town, looks deeply and empathetically into the loving but strained relationship between Sammy (Linney), a single mother with an 8-year-old son, and Terry (Ruffalo), her wastrel brother, who returns home after serving a jail sentence. The two share a special bond, having lost their parents in a car crash when they were children. Matthew Broderick is Sammy's stuffy new boss at the bank where she works as a loan officer. The tensions that erupt may not be the most melodramatic domestic problems ever filmed, but they're the stuff of life, and Linney's and Ruffalo's performances are achingly perfect." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Doris Kuhn, Mark Duplass, A.O. Scott, Roger Ebert, Kenneth Turan.
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Borat

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

2006 / USA-UK / 84m / Col / Comedy, Mockumentary
Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson, Bob Barr, Chester, Charlie
"Borat is the hero of this extraordinary mocu-reality adventure: a film so funny, so breathtakingly offensive, so suicidally discourteous, that strictly speaking it shouldn't be legal at all. He is the naive provincial TV reporter supposedly from Kazakhstan, though it is clear that this "Kazakhstan" is a joke cardboard country, a post-Soviet neverland picked at random... The fascination of Borat's comedy situationism, his theatre of cruelty, is that its hero is deeply unsympathetic. Ali G had a kind of goofy charm, but Borat is just so horrible, with a deplorable quality mitigated only by his ineffectuality." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Peter Debruge, Anupama Chopra, Robbie Collin, Ty Burr.
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Nostalgia for the Light

Nostalgia for the Light

Nostalgia de la luz (original title)
2010 / France-Germany-Chile-Spain-USA / 90m / Col / Social History, Documentary
Gaspar Galaz, Lautaro Nunez, Luis Henriquez, Miguel (Architect), Victor Gonzalez, Vicky Saaveda, Violeta Berrios, George Preston, Valentina Rodriguez
"This magical, moving documentary is from Patricio Guzman, the Chilean filmmaker who has spent a lifetime exploring his country’s unsteady relationship with its past. While others bury their heads in the sand over Pinochet’s murderous regime during the 1970s and ’80s, or the slave labour on which Chile’s nineteenth-century prosperity was built, Guzman heads to the sands of the country’s Atacama Desert to confront with poetry and sensitivity – but also a journalist’s keen eye and rigour – themes of remembering and forgetting, exploring and ignoring... A truly eye-opening experience." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by B. Ruby Rich, Michael Koller, Gareth Evans, Tata Amaral, Zachary Wigon.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

2008 / USA-UK / 152m / Col / Crime Drama, Comic-Book Superhero Film
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Ron Dean, Cillian Murphy
"What a brooding pleasure it is to return to Nolan's Gotham City—if "pleasure" is the right word for a movie that gazes so deeply and sometimes despairingly into the souls of restless men. In The Dark Knight, the continuation of Nolan's superb 2005 reboot of the Batman franchise, Batman Begins, fair Gotham is a modestly cleaner, better-lit place than it was when last we saw it, if still a far stretch from the shining city on a hill its winged protector believes it can be... So The Dark Knight will give your adrenal glands their desired workout, but it will occupy your mind, too, and even lead it down some dim alleyways where most Hollywood movies fear to tread." - Scott Foundas, The Village Voice
Selected by Xu Zhanxiong, Jin Jieli, Matthew Cheng, Zhang Yibai, Tony Jaa.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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To Be and to Have

To Be and to Have

Être et avoir (original title)
2002 / France / 104m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Georges Lopez, Alize, Axel, Guillaume, Jessie, Johann, JoJo, Julien, Laura, Letitia
"This thoroughly delightful documentary by Nicolas Philibert has a miraculous simplicity and clarity - and yet displays its own deeply intelligent sort of sophistication. Philibert has followed a year in the life of an infant school in rural France: one teacher and a dozen or so little kids, aged from four to 10, all taught by him in one room. M Georges Lopes is a few years shy of retirement, apparently childless and unmarried, having dedicated himself to teaching very small children… Philibert's camera responds to the eternal mystery of their faces, and the future-ghosts of the adults they will become. In its humanity and its quietly passionate idealism, this film is a tonic." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Patricio Guzmán, Andrea Segre, Havana Marking, Wolfram Schutte, Julia Jager.
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La Commune (Paris, 1871)

La Commune (Paris, 1871)

2000 / France / 345m / BW / History, Politics & Government
Elaine Annie Adalto, Pierre Barbieux, Bernard Bombeau, Maylis Bouffartigue, Genevieve Capy, Anne Carlier, Veronique Couzon, Piotr Daskiewicz, Nicole Defer, Caroline Esnard-Benoit
"Dynamic historical reconstruction in the form of an experimental documentary, Watkins's six-hour feature was made in DV for (and largely buried by) French TV; it's as much immersion as narrative—complicated yet lucid and contagiously exciting… La Commune is in good measure an action film that builds inexorably to a powerful climax. This syncretic work of left-wing modernism—suggesting not only Brecht and Vertov but Soviet mass spectacle and didactic Godard—is at once immediate and self-reflexive. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Emilio Bustamante, John Gianvito, Chow Sze-chung, David Ehrenstein, Daniel Lindvall.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Kill Bill Vol. 1

Kill Bill Vol. 1

2003 / USA / 111m / Col-BW / Action Thriller, Martial Arts
Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Parks
"Brutally bloody and thrillingly callous from first to last, Kill Bill covers its action in a kind of delirium-glaze. Its storyline rolls out in a simulacrum universe, a place which looks and sounds like planet Earth in the early 21st century, but isn't. It's a martial- arts movie universe where the normal laws of economics, police work, physiology and gravity do not apply: a world composed of a brilliantly allusive tissue of spaghetti western and Asian martial-arts genres, on which the director's own, instantly identifiable presence is mounted as a superstructure… Kill Bill just leaves you feeling excited: pointlessly, wildly excited. How many films can do that?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Chiara Santilli, Sergio Arecco, Gerard Alonso Cassadó, Xavier Pérez, Tom Tykwer.
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The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

2014 / USA-Germany / 100m / Col-BW / Comedy, Farce
Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray
"The Grand Budapest Hotel is the filmic equivalent of one of the elaborate, multi-layered cream cakes that its young female lead, pastry chef Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), spends so long confecting. It is gorgeous to look at, full of candy colours, and extravagant camera movements. Its eye-popping visuals are complemented by Alexandre Desplat’s wonderfully jazzy score and by the lively and eccentric star cameos dotted throughout the movie… Anderson has a knack of turning out live-action dramas that are as stylised as cartoons. Here, though, he makes us care deeply about his characters. Anderson’s style may be high kitsch but the story he is telling is dark and elegiac." - Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
Selected by Joanna Gleason, Peter Bradshaw, Edgar Wright, Richard Corliss, Richard Brody.
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Hugo

Hugo

2011 / USA / 126m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Period Film
Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour
"Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about — movies. That he also makes it a fable that will be fascinating for (some, not all) children is a measure of what feeling went into it… Hugo celebrates the birth of the cinema and dramatizes Scorsese's personal pet cause, the preservation of old films." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jan Troell, Shu Kei, Christopher Fowler, I. Shanmughadas, Ty Burr,.
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A Serious Man

A Serious Man

2009 / USA-UK-France / 105m / Col / Period Film, Black Comedy
Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, Peter Breitmayer, Brent Braunschweig, David Kang, Benjy Portnoe
"Deftly balancing bright comedy and bitter darkness, the Coens have come up with another uncomfortable masterpiece about a fraternal duo… Euphoric, sad and thoughtful all at once, this strange and wonderful film is rounded off with a gloriously well-crafted apocalyptic vision and a chilling intimation of divine retribution for earthly wrongdoing. The Coens have finished the noughties as America's pre-eminent film-makers." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Pulver, Rinaldo Vignati, Jeff Goldblum, Gilberto Perez, Joseph McBride.
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American Splendor

American Splendor

2003 / USA / 101m / Col / Comedy Drama, Biopic
Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, James Urbaniak, Chris Ambrose, Joey Krajcar, Josh Hutcherson, Harvey Pekar, Judah Friedlander, Joyce Brabner, Toby Radloff
"American Splendor breaks all the rules. It's part fictionalized biopic, part full-fledged biography. It has excellent actors playing the main characters, and it has segments with the real-life characters themselves. It even hops into animation at times, which is appropriate since the hero is Harvey Pekar, known - well, not to millions, but to comic-book cultists everywhere - as the writer of underground comics illustrated by such legendary pop artists as R. Crumb… Filmed and acted to near perfection, it's one of the year's most innovative and exciting pictures." - David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Leonard Maltin, Ty Burr, Roger Ebert, David Sterritt, Owen Gleiberman.
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Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir

Vals Im Bashir (original title)
2008 / Israel-France-Germany-USA-Japan-Finland-Switzerland-Belgium-Australia / 90m / Col / Military & War, Animation
Ori Sivan, Ronny Dayag, Shmuel Frenkel, Professor Zahava Solomon, Ron Ben-Yishai, Dror Harazi, Boaz Rein-Buskila, Carmi Cna'an, Miki Leon, Yehezkel Lazarov
"Has Israel made a mass, semi-conscious decision to forget about the Sabra and Chatila massacres of the 1982 Lebanese war, in which Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militia into Palestinian refugee camps to slaughter civilians? This extraordinary animated documentary by Israeli film-maker Ari Folman - a kind of fictionalised docu-autobiography - suggests that Israelis have indeed forgotten, in a kind of huge, willed amnesia. But his movie makes an acid-trip down memory lane, and Folman might have created his generation's very own Apocalypse Now." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Vassilis Economou, J. Hoberman, Anders Ostergaard, Carl Plantinga, Claire Aguilar.
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Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

2013 / USA-UK-France / 105m / Col / Musical Drama, Period Film
Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Max Casella, Jerry Grayson, Jeanine Serralles, Adam Driver, Stark Sands
"Inside Llewyn Davis gets everything softly, quietly right. T-Bone Burnett supervised the music, and it never sounds as if it's been lifted out of some dusty vault — it's alive. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel gives us a half-tarnished, half-burnished vision of early 1960s New York, just dreamy enough, rather than laden with false nostalgia... Intentionally or otherwise, the Coens might be channeling the Hal Ashby of The Landlord, or Next Stop, Greenwich Village–era Paul Mazursky. Whatever they're doing, it's remarkable — cockeyed humanism at its best." - Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
Selected by Tim Grierson, Peter Bradshaw, David Ansen, Phillip Lopate, Dana Stevens.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2002 / USA-New Zealand / 179m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif
"The director Peter Jackson's scrupulous devotion to the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy manifests itself in a gripping, intense fashion for the second of the film adaptations, The Two Towers. It may be the first sequel that does not bother to reprise the major plot elements of its predecessor immediately; the plan is to simply drop us right into the action… Never has a film so strongly been a product of a director's respect for its source. Mr. Jackson uses all his talents in the service of that reverence, creating a rare perfect mating of filmmaker and material." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Steven Kastrissios, Jonathan Lack, Roque Baños, Wuershan, Douglas Pratt.
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L'Enfant

L'Enfant

The Child (English title)
2005 / Belgium-France / 95m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Jeremie Renier, Deborah Francois, Jeremie Segard, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet, Anne Gerard, Bernard Marbaix, Jean-Claude Boniverd, Stephane Bissot, Mireille Bailly
"The Dardenne brothers' new film The Child, or L'Enfant, is an example of how cinema has the power to convince, to move and to compel with the fewest possible material resources. It is as gripping as any thriller, with the abrasive force of social-realist drama, and yet it is also unapologetically concerned with redemption - a theme that is just a style accessory in many movies, but is here absolutely authentic. It is a spiritual and even religious story, though religion of any sort is quite absent. In some scenes, it even had this unbeliever fearing for the lead character's immortal soul." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Charles Gant, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Robbie Collin, Dan Sallitt, Ian Christie.
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The World

The World

Shijie (original title)
2004 / China-Japan-France / 140m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Tao Zhao, Taisheng Chen, Jue Jing, Zhong-wei Jiang, Yi-qun Wang, Hong Wei Wang, Jing Dong Liang, Shuai Ji, Wan Xiang, Alla Shcherbakova
"The title of Jia Zhang-ke’s 2004 masterpiece, The World — a film that’s hilarious and upsetting, epic and dystopian — is an ironic pun and a metaphor. It’s also the name of the real theme park outside Beijing where most of the action is set and practically all its characters work… Flawed only by its abrupt and stylistically awkward ending, The World is a tragic, visionary work — a global newspaper that somehow catches our muddled drift in all its surreal splendor. Maybe its biggest achievement is that it actually lives up to its title." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jytte Jensen, Daryl Chin, Dudley Andrew, Zhang Ling.
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Hunger

Hunger

2008 / UK-Ireland / 96m / Col / Drama, Prison Film
Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Helena Bereen, Larry Cowan, Liam Cunningham, Dennis McCambridge, Liam McMahon, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Rory Mullen
"With Hunger, British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen has turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience. In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison in 1981, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners… Featuring an intense performance by Michael Fassbender, Hunger is an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Noam M. Elcott, Clio Barnard, Akin Omotoso, Zachary Wigon, Tina Porcelli.
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Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

2012 / USA / 94m / Col / Comedy, Childhood Drama
Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Kara Hayward, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Jared Gilman, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban
"Anderson's movies are vulnerable to the charge of being supercilious oddities, but there is elegance and formal brilliance in Moonrise Kingdom as well as a lot of gentle, winning comedy. His homemade aesthetic is placed at the service of a counter-digital, almost hand-drawn cinema, and he has an extraordinary ability to conjure a complete, distinctive universe, entire of itself. To some, Moonrise Kingdom may be nothing more than a soufflé of strangeness, but it rises superbly." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Edgar Wright, David Jenkins, Manohla Dargis, Philip French, Ty Burr.
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Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In

Låt den rätte komma in (original title)
2008 / Sweden-Norway / 114m / Col / Horror, Drama
Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm, Kark-Robert Lindgren, Anders T. Peedu
"Stick your neck out for this Swedish horror show. It's a winner, full of mirth and malice, plus a young romance you'll never see on the Disney Channel. Eli (Leandersson) shows up just in time for 12-year-old Oskar (Hedebrant), who lives with his divorced mom in dank Stockholm. The kids at school are always kicking Oskar's ass, which helps fuel revenge fantasies… The two young leads are dynamite. And director Tomas Alfredson knows how to pin you to your seat. See it now before Hollywood remakes the thing and ruins it." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Richard Curtis, Andy Serkis, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Matthew Taylor,.
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Black Swan

Black Swan

2010 / USA / 108m / Col / Showbiz Drama, Psychological Thriller
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Kristina Anapau, Janet Montgomery, Sebastian Stan
"This eye-popping, inspired and often-demented (in a good way) cross between The Red Shoes and All About Eve channels horror maestros David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento. It’s also something of a companion piece to Aronofsky’s The Wrestler (the unsettling ending is very similar) but far surpasses the earlier film... Director Aronofsky triumphs in a high-wire act. He skirts ludicrousness by balancing some truly creepy, bloody stuff with some stunningly beautiful ballet sequences enhanced by digital effects. Aronofsky is abetted by Matthew Libatique's cinematography and the choreography by Benjamin Millepied." - Lou Lumenick, New York Post
Selected by Xiaoning Lu, Anna Smith, Li Yu, Paul Whitington, Roger Ebert.
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Ghost World

Ghost World

2001 / USA-UK-Germany / 111m / Col / Comedy Drama, Coming-of-Age
Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, Stacy Travis, Charles C. Stevenson Jr., Dave Sheridan, Teri Garr
"It’s one of the most difficult things that an artist might attempt to do, to represent what it’s like to be a teenager… Ghost World, directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb) and based on co-writer Daniel Clowes’ underground comic strip, gets it right. It’s smart, sensitive, and insightful about the lunacy that constitutes adolescence, and never forgets how real and how complicated kids’ feelings are. Add to this the fact that the film is mostly about two girl adolescents—Enid (the extraordinary Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Johansson)—and the men’s achievement seems even more remarkable." - Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
Selected by Sarah Nichols, Michel Gondry, A.O. Scott, Roger Ebert, Kent Jones.
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The Fog of War

The Fog of War

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (alternative title)
2003 / USA / 107m / Col / Military & War, Documentary
Robert McNamara, Errol Morris
"In the deepest sense, The Fog of War is about the inadequacy of human intelligence. Morris's portrait of the former secretary of defense and prime architect of the Vietnam War, has been culled from over 20 hours of interviews. Elegantly annotated with archival footage and declassified White House tapes, The Fog of War allows this disarming 86-year-old raconteur to reveal what he was taught by the Cuban missile crisis (don't put your faith in rational behavior) and to detail his lesser-known experiences as contributor to the World War II firebombing of Japan and pioneer of the automobile seat belt." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Anders Ostergaard, Andreas Dalsgaard, Carl Plantinga, Debra Zimmerman, Derek Malcolm.
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Hero

Hero

Ying xiong (original title)
2002 / Hong Kong-China / 99m / Col / Historical Film, Martial Arts
Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Daoming Chen, Donnie Yen, Liu Zhong Yuan, Zheng Tia Yong, Yan Qin, Chang Xiao Yang
"Hero comes from Zhang Yimou, who led China's so-called Fifth Generation filmmaking movement with offerings such as Ju Dou and The Story of Qiu Ju, then went into a slump. I hereby declare his slump officially over. Hero is a walloping entertainment, brimming with the magic-realist action that made Ang Lee's somewhat similar Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a hit… Hero gains its excitement less from the story it tells than from Mr. Zhang's brilliance in telling it. The screen pulses with choreographed movement, vibrantly framed images, and cascades of color that match plot events." - David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Stefan Droessler, Slavoj Zizek, Slobodan Valentinčič, Ching Siu-Tung , Michael Wood.
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The Departed

The Departed

2006 / USA-Hong Kong / 152m / Col / Crime, Police Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Corrigan
"The Hong Kong action movie Infernal Affairs has the sort of hook that would fill an arena in the rock world: Two police-academy graduates work as moles on opposite sides of the law… Shot through by his most propulsive storytelling since Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese's remake orchestrates such a perfect balance between these mirroring characters that the film achieves a kind of musical symmetry… The Departed has that Goodfellas pop, from the first-rate cast to the sharp black comedy to the startling incidents of violence. Scorsese is revisiting familiar territory, but the details are still fresh." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, Andrew Sarris, Gavin Smith, Ian Christie, Molly Haskell.
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Up

Up

2009 / USA / 96m / Col / Children's/Family, Animation
Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, Jerome Ranft, John Ratzenberger, David Kaye, Elie Docter, Jeremy Leary
"There are scenes in Up of such beauty, economy and poetic wisdom that they belong in any anthology of great movie moments… As was the case with WALL-E, Up shows that, for Pixar, progress is not just a technological matter. It is moving forward in artistry, cultivating realms of wordless splendor that evoke the best of the silent days… To watch Up with any attention is to be moved and astonished by the economy with which specific visuals are invested with emotion throughout: The armchairs where Carl and his wife once sat every night, the wife's childhood scrapbook and even the house itself - these all become powerful images." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Anna Smith, Gary Tarn, Taika Waititi, Jasper Sharp, Kevin B. Lee.
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The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing

2012 / Denmark-Norway-UK-Finland / 115m / Col / Social History, Documentary
Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik, Yapto Soerjosoemarno, Safit Pardede, Jusuf Kalla, Adi Zulkadry, Soaduon Siregar, Suryono
"It's a documentary about the Indonesian death squads of the mid-1960s who tortured and killed communists. But it's also a film within a film, as director Joshua Oppenheimer urges the ageing gangsters to recreate their acts on increasingly elaborate scale (prosthetics, props, drag outfits, soundtrack, location shooting). They grin and mug just as they also take it very, very seriously... It's often said of documentaries that they deserve to have as wide an audience as possible. This doesn't deserve; it demands – not for what it says about present-day Indonesia or even about its former horrors. But because almost every frame is astonishing." - Catherine Shoard, The Guardian
Selected by Paul Whitington, Peter Bradshaw, André Singer, Elena Fortes, Dieter Kosslick.
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Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone

2010 / USA / 100m / Col / Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Family Drama
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee, Lauren Sweetser, Tate Taylor, Isaiah Stone, Ashlee Thompson
"Every once in a rare while a movie gets inside your head and heart, rubbing your emotions raw. The remarkable Winter's Bone is just such a movie… Director Debra Granik has adapted the 2006 novel by Daniel Woodrell into a brutally honest movie about secrets that fester among families in the Missouri backwoods… Granik handles this volatile, borderline horrific material with unblinking ferocity and feeling… Winter's Bone is unforgettable. It means to shake you, and does." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Warwick Thornton, Samuel Wigley, Roger Ebert, Carrie Rickey, David Ansen.
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The Master

The Master

2012 / USA / 144m / Col / Period Film, Psychological Drama
Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Price Carson, Mike Howard, Sarah Shoshana David, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky, Rami Malek
"This is a superbly crafted film that's at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn't want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness. It's a film bristling with vivid moments and unbeatable acting… Its writer-director, of course, is the all-out visionary Paul Thomas Anderson, an all-in filmmaker whose previous work like Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood explored strong and compelling personal conflicts. But none are stronger than the one here between a man completely sure of himself and another who is completely not." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Tim Grierson, Mark Cousins, Todd McCarthy, Manohla Dargis, Peter Bradshaw.
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Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

2001 / USA / 112m / Col / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Jake Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Mary McDonnell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Duval, Patrick Swayze, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross, Noah Wyle
"Writer-director Richard Kelly's debut feature, the Lynchian Donnie Darko, is a tale of adolescent angst ripe with enigmatic sci-fi underpinnings. Regardless of whether Kelly's titular protagonist (Gyllenhaal) is seemingly deranged or merely on the brink of saving humanity from itself, his timewarping fantasies become startling metaphors for confused teenage male development. This endlessly inventive film is the virtual antithesis of happy-go-lucky '80s teen flicks, hauntingly gauging the pulse of a nation gripped by sexual repression and political uncertainty." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by James King, Marc Evans, Jurgen Egger, Amy Taubin, Maitland McDonagh.
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Silent Light

Silent Light

Stellet licht (original title)
2007 / Mexico-France-Netherlands / 136m / Col / Psychological Drama, Rural Drama
Cornelio Wall, Miriam Toews, Maria Pankratz, Peter Wall, Elisabeth Wall, Jacobo Klassen, Irma Thiessen, Alfredo Thiessen, Daniel Thiessen, Autghe Loewen
"Silent Light is told with the same powerful simplicity and stylistic austerity as Reygadas’ previous films, Japón and Battle in Heaven, but without the shock of explicit sexual or violent imagery, scenes that seemed designed to provoke our comfort level… Silent Light is entrancing, powerful, pure, a work of cinema art sheered to the essentials and a work of spiritual exploration and identity where religion and faith are never directly discussed but are behind every conversation. Reygadas isn’t preaching, he’s telling a human story framed by their beliefs and their commitment to their faith and family. In that space between the mortal and the spiritual, miracles occur." - Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
Selected by Lisandro Alonso, Monika Wagenberg, Ludmila Cvikova, Jean-Pierre Garcia, Daniel Frampton.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York

2008 / USA / 124m / Col / Psychological Drama, Showbiz Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Sadie Goldstein, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis
"For his directorial debut, the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has outdone himself, for good or ill, with the strangest, saddest movie imaginable, a work suffused with almost evangelical zeal in the service of disillusion. It's a film of mad Beckettian grandeur about the terrible twin truths of existence: life is disappointing and death inescapable. And it supplies a third insight: art is part of life and so doomed to failure in the same way… At the end of it all, you will feel as if you have lived through some crazy tragedy… It is not for everyone, but is utterly extraordinary in its way. If Charlie Kaufman never does anything again, this will stand as his cracked monument." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Anne Billson, Gus Van Sant, Ed Park, David Sorfa, Anton Bitel.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Amores perros

Amores perros

2000 / Mexico / 153m / Col / Ensemble Film, Urban Drama
Emilio Echeverria, Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo, Alvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Marco Perez, Rodrigo Murray, Humberto Busto, Gerardo Campbell
"Amores Perros, was a foreign- film Oscar nominee, but it didn't stand a chance. Blood actually sizzles on a grill in it, and the stench of its Mexico City is stronger than that of the average art house's popcorn… Inarritu doesn't give you a Mexico City that's a vista-laden window on exotic locales. Written by Guillermo Arriaga, the film is a side-streety, rat's-eye view of a city undergoing economic upheaval… This is hard core, and it ain't pretty. His movie doesn't have to be falsely gorgeous, though 2 1/2 hours after it begins, it finds the human beauty that spills out of the knife wounds." - Wesley Morris, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Paul Julian Smith, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Jean-Christophe Berjon, Klaus Lemke, Anupama Chopra.
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The Headless Woman

The Headless Woman

La Mujer sin cabeza (original title)
2008 / Argentina-Spain-France-Italy / 87m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Maria Onetto, Claudia Cantero, Cesar Bordon, Daniel Genoud, Guillermo Arengo, Ines Efron, Alicia Muxo, Pia Uribelarrea, Maria Vaner, Andrea Verdon
"Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel arrived on the international film scene eight years ago with her unique style already fully formed… Now along comes her magnificently confounding The Headless Woman, and I officially surrender. Maybe she’s finally put it all together, maybe I’m just slow — either way, this is one stunning piece of work… As pure filmmaking, The Headless Woman is indisputably superb and non-stop evocative; there’s scarcely a shot that doesn’t throb with ambiguous menace or portent. Indeed, there’s a strong genetic resemblance to David Lynch’s Inland Empire, another tale of a wealthy middle-aged woman who tumbles down an unexplained rabbit hole." - Mike D'Angelo, IFC
Selected by Lizzie Francke, Violet Lucca, Simon Ward, Maria Delgado, Marc Munden.
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Children of Men

Children of Men

2006 / USA-UK / 109m / Col / Science Fiction, Action Thriller
Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston, Peter Mullan, Oana Pellea
"Children Of Men is set in 2027, but each strand of its dystopian vision comes tethered to 2006. It's all chillingly, disgustingly plausible, and the familiarity only amplifies its power to shock… Cuarón directs Children Of Men with remarkable long takes and indelible images, but it isn't the kind of craft that immediately calls attention to itself; Cuarón moves the story along with an intensity that makes it hard to pay attention to anything else. It's a film of astonishing immediacy, with all the urgency of a late-night phone call, but the human element drives it… It's a heartbreaking, bullet-strewn valentine to what keeps us human." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Marc Webb, Paul Tanter, Tim Peters, Gael Garcia Bernal, Robbie Collin.
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The Incredibles

The Incredibles

2004 / USA / 121m / Col-BW / Family-Oriented Adventure, Animation
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Wallace Shawn, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Brad Bird, Lou Romano, Elizabeth Pena
"The Incredibles is brought to us by former Simpsons director Brad Bird… It's an all-conqueringly funny and blastingly energised family comedy that made me feel like one of its tiny pixillated civilians that get flung through walls, plunged into indigo-blue oceans or catapulted into the sky like a vanishing dot… Plenty of ideas go into the mix. There's something of X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spy Kids and also the quirky retro-feel of TV shows like Get Smart and the 1960s Batman. But as ever with Pixar, influences are subsumed into something new, something supercharged with insolent originality and modernity." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Osmond, Owen Gleiberman, Nanni Moretti, Quim Casas, Frank Darabont.
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As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

2000 / USA / 288m / Col / Biography, Documentary
Jonas Mekas, Oona Mekas
"At 288 minutes, this is a blizzard of detail and filmmaking technique, and the movie crystallizes Mr. Mekas's life into a few hours of blissful, and eventually mournful, experience… With its intentionally rough-hewn cuts, it is a journal, with hand-typed titles interspersed throughout that skitter past like lightning flashes and are meant to evoke moments… As I Was Moving Ahead has a lovely, unadorned, though distended sentimentality. Even though he has sliced much of his last 30 years into this movie and broken the film into 12 chapters, Mr. Mekas understands the unreliability of memory. More astoundingly, he manages to tame that phenomenon and get it on film." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Eduardo Coutinho, Javier Packer-Comyn, Flavia de la Fuente, Radu Jude, Matías Piñeiro, Jonás Trueba.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others

Das Leben der Anderen (original title)
2006 / Germany / 138m / Col / Political Thriller, Period Film
Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Muhe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Volkmar Kleinert, Matthias Brenner, Charly Hubner, Herbert Knaup
"Is this a political thriller? In part, yes. The film has whispered conspiracies, a typewriter smuggled inside a cake box, the sexual compromising of a beautiful woman, a violent death. But those are mere trappings of a social structure that puts everyone at mortal risk, the spies no less than the spied upon. The narrative is a noose, tightening around all the characters--and the moviegoer too. Smartly crafted, impeccably acted, The Lives of Others packs a subtle punch, from its creepy first images to its poignant finale." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Tibor Bíró, Lizelle Bisschoff, Minky Schlesinger, Talulah Riley, Zhou Xingxing.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

2009 / USA-Germany / 153m / Col / War, Adventure
Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, Jacky Ido
"Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is a consummate Hollywood entertainment—rich in fantasy and blithely amoral. It's also quintessential Tarantino—even more drenched in film references than gore, with a proudly misspelled title (lifted from Italian genre-meister Enzo Castellari's 1978 Dirty Dozen knockoff) to underscore the movie's cinematic hyperliteracy… Inglourious Basterds may still be a tad long at two and a half hours and a little too pleased with itself, but it's tough to resist the enthusiastic performances and terrific dialogue—if you're not put off by the juvenile premise or cartoonish savagery." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Razika Mergenbaeva, Cyrus Frisch, Wang Qiangdong, Matt Maul, Xu Jinglei.
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La Cienaga

La Ciénaga

The Swamp (English title)
2001 / Argentina-USA-Japan-France-Switzerland-Spain-Brazil / 99m / Col / Drama
Mercedes Moran, Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian, Leonora Balcarce, Sylvia Bayle, Sofia Bertolotto, Juan Cruz Bordeu, Noelia Bravo Herrera, Maria Micol Ellero, Andrea Lopez
"Character is destiny, it has been said. As true as that may be, Martel's remarkable debut film, La Ciénaga, shows how geography and climate also determine human fate. For whether or not we recognize it, we all live in nature. And in La Ciénaga nature looms over the characters like a malevolent giant exhaling fetid vapors… As La Ciénaga perspires from the screen, it creates a vision of social malaise that feels paradoxically familiar and new. Anyone who has wilted during the dog days of summer will recognize its mood and identify with the characters' pervasive sense of exasperation. But La Ciénaga is the first film I've seen that makes this mood its subject." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Pablo Stoll, Paula Félix-Didier, Monika Wagenberg, Pawel Pawlikowski, Esin Kucuktepepinar.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3

2010 / USA / 103m / Col / Family-Oriented Adventure, Animation
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, John Morris
"Toy Story 3 is as sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer, and yet it is all about doodads stamped and molded out of plastic and polyester. Therein lies its genius, and its uncanny authenticity. A tale that captured the romance and pathos of the consumer economy, the sorrows and pleasures that dwell at the heart of our materialist way of life, could only be told from the standpoint of the commodities themselves, those accretions of synthetic substance and alienated labor we somehow endow with souls." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Terry Jones, Fernando Trueba, Peter Bradshaw, Nick Park, Tim Robey.
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Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

The Fast Runner (alternative title); Atanarjuat (alternative title)
2001 / Canada / 172m / Col / Adventure, Drama
Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk, Madeleine Ivalu, Pauloosie Quilitalik, Eugene Ipkarnak, Pakak Innuksuk, Neeve Irngaut, Abraham Ulayuruluk
"Zacharias Kunuk's first feature—as well as the first feature to be made in the Inuktitut language—is an epic account of an Inuit blood feud, shot on DV in northernmost Canada. Mysterious, bawdy, emotionally intense, and replete with virtuoso throat singing, this three-hour movie is engrossing from first image to last, so devoid of stereotype and cosmic in its vision it could suggest the rebirth of cinema. As the arctic light and landscape beggar description, so the performances go beyond acting, and the production itself seems little short of miraculous." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Sophie Mayer, S.F. Said, Cameron Bailey, Guy Maddin, J. Hoberman.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Amour

Amour

Love (English title)
2012 / Austria-France-Germany / 127m / Col / Drama, Romantic Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell, Ramon Agirre, Rita Blanco, Carole Franck, Dinara Drukarova, Laurent Capelluto
"Amour is an accessible story of great simplicity… Haneke has cast two legends of the French cinema, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, as Georges and Anne, an octogenarian couple, former music teachers, living in happy, companionable retirement. But one day Anne suffers a stroke… she declines into dementia, and we follow Georges's increasingly unbearable task of caring for his wife in their apartment… The power and intelligence of this film really is a marvel; it is superbly acted and directed, with the edge of cold steel that audiences have come to expect from Haneke but with something else: a tenderness, gentleness and compassion." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Ludmila Cvikova, Tina Porcelli, Fabrizio Liberti, Peter Bradshaw, Paul Whitington.
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2046

2046

2004 / Hong Kong-China-France-Italy-Germany / 129m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Romantic Drama
Tony Leung, Gong Li, Takuya Kimura, Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Chen Chang, Wang Sum, Ping Lam Siu, Maggie Cheung
"In his nine-film career, Wong has perfected the romance noir genre, and these days, he has it all to himself… 2046 stakes out its own territory as a complex, visually rich, pull-out-all-the-stops rumination on memory, regret, relationships and the creative process. While it falls just shy of a masterpiece, Wong's idiosyncratic command of the medium, along with Christopher Doyle's cinematography, William Chang's set and costume design and a veritable Murderers Row of Chinese and Hong Kong actresses make this a rare, sumptuous movie treat. It already feels like a classic." - G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Gillies MacKinnon, Peter Körte, Joshua Clover, César Ballester, Xu Minghan.
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Inland Empire

Inland Empire

2006 / USA-France-Poland / 180m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Mystery
Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Grace Zabriskie, Ian Abercrombie, Peter J. Lucas, Justin Theroux, Terryn Westbrook, Julia Ormond, Diane Ladd
"David Lynch believes that his new film makes sense. In fact, that it makes perfect sense. And not only is he not joking; he’s saying this about the most screwed-up, far-out film he’s made since Eraserhead. It’s a three-hour psychotropic odyssey that throws conventional narrative out of the window. Characters mutate and morph, time zones overlap, and wormholes connect worlds within worlds within worlds. But through it all Lynch maintains an astonishing sense of commitment that almost dares you to keep up… Inland Empire is a terrific, albeit labyrinthine, funhouse of a film, rich with the promise of mystery in all its dark, inviting doorway." - Damon Wise, Empire
Selected by Gillies MacKinnon, Paula Arantzazu Ruiz, Ángel Quintana Morraja, Luis Miranda, Martha P. Nochimson.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Oldboy

Oldboy

Old Boy (alternative title)
2003 / South Korea / 120m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Drama
Min-Sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Byeong-ok Kim, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Seung-Shin Lee, Jin-seo Yun, Tae-kyung Oh, Yeon-suk Ahn
"It’s easy to feel blasé about the steady stream of action-oriented movies from the Far East, but this latest head-spinner… is far, far too good to leave to the ‘Asia Extreme’ crowd… Choi Min-Sik is in the Pacino or De Niro class, running the gamut from terrifying rage to abject degradation. The implausibilities in the plot melt away because we’re living the experience with him, thanks also in part to the bravura expressiveness of Park’s direction. Hitchcock and Fincher are reference points, but this combines visceral punch, a tortured humanity and even an underlying Korean political resonance given the weight of the past. Quite an achievement then." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Cameron Crowe, Eli Roth, Youngmee Hwang, Lizelle Bisschoff, Simon Rumley.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Still Life

Still Life

Sanxia haoren (original title)
2006 / China-Hong Kong / 113m / Col / Drama, Social Problem Film
Tao Zhao, Sanming Han, Hong Wei Wang, Zhou Lan, Yong Huang, Jianlin Peng, Zhubin Li
"Jia Zhangke's wonderful film tells two parallel stories, both about individuals coming to Fengjie in Sichuan Province in search of long-absent partners. The setting is as resonant as the characters: Fengjie is being demolished to prepare for its impending inundation by the Yangtze. Plenty of earlier Chinese movies have looked at the human and social cost of the Three Gorges Dam, but Jia's film is the first to rhyme the loss of a very ancient human settlement with the transience and fragility of human relationships in general." - Tony Rayns, Sight & Sound
Selected by Jean-Michel Frodon, Margaret Deriaz, Babak Jalali, Blue Un Sok Kim, Bong Joon-ho.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Boyhood

Boyhood

2014 / USA / 165m / Col / Childhood Drama, Coming-of-Age
Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater, Steven Chester Prince, Bonnie Cross, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard
"A unique work in American cinema, shot in 39 days over the course of 12 years, Boyhood is an epic about the ordinary: growing up, the banality of family life, and forging an identity. Everything here has been seen in movies and on television countless times before -- marital spats, a divorced dad trying to connect with kids he sporadically sees, teenagers acting out, parents having to let go -- but perhaps never has the long arc of the journey from childhood to college been portrayed as cohesively and convincingly as Richard Linklater has done in a film that can be plain on a moment-to-moment basis but is something quite special in its entirety." - Todd McCarthy, Variety
Selected by Paul Whitington, Peter Bradshaw, Tim Grierson, Edgar Wright, A.O. Scott.
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Mystic River

Mystic River

2003 / USA-Australia / 137m / Col / Mystery, Urban Drama
Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Adam Nelson, Emmy Rossum, Cameron Bowen
"Clint Eastwood's film, scrupulously faithful to the letter and sprit of Dennis Lehane's novel, has the gritty efficiency of superior crime fiction and the somber weight of tragedy. Set in working-class Irish Catholic Boston, this film revisits the themes of violence, honor and guilt that have haunted many of Mr. Eastwood's movies; it is among the most humane of his films, but also the most rigorously pessimistic. Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn play Dave, Sean and Jimmy, boyhood friends who must revisit the traumas of their youth when Jimmy's daughter is murdered." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Chiara Zingariello, Adriano Piccardi, Chiara Borroni, Pascal Gaigne, Fanny Lignon.
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Code Unknown

Code Unknown

Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (original title)
2000 / France-Germany-Romania / 116m / Col / Urban Drama, Social Problem Film
Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi, Maimouna Helene Diarra, Ona Lu Yenke, Djibril Kouyate, Luminita Gheorghiu, Crenguta Hariton, Bob Nicolaescu
"Aptly subtitled Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys, the best feature to date by Austrian director Michael Haneke is a procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment… I couldn't always get what was happening, but I was never bored, and the questions raised reflect the mysteries of everyday life. The title refers to the pass codes used to enter houses in Paris—a metaphor for codes that might crack certain global and ethical issues." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Antonio Campos, Liz Helfgott, Laura Marks, Ruben Östlund, Clio Barnard.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

2015 / Australia-USA / 120m / Col / Action Thriller, Road Movie
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee
"Mad Max: Fury Road is a stunningly effective post-apocalyptic fable, a chilling and yet exhilarating daytime nightmare pitting blindly loyal and bloodthirsty half-humans against implausibly beautiful people clinging to their sense of morality while doing whatever they can to stay alive. In an action movie world dominated by cartoonishly over-the-top CGI effects and rapid-fire quick cuts, it’s exhilarating to see so many set pieces and battle sequences filmed in unbroken tracking shots, some breathtaking wide angle views and visceral, gritty close-ups." - Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by A.O. Scott, Glenn Kenny, John Waters, Mike D'Angelo, Todd McCarthy.
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Colossal Youth

Colossal Youth

Juventude Em Marcha (original title)
2006 / Portugal-France-Switzerland / 155m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Ventura, Vanda Duarte, Beatriz Duarte, Gustavo Sumpta, Cila Cardoso, Isabel Cardoso, Alberto 'Lento' Barros, Antonio Semedo, Paulo Nunes, Jose Maria Pina
"Featuring the residents of a Lisbon slum, Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth is a mesmeric, visually stunning portrait of a deprived community that confirms its director as one of Europe's major talents. The intransigently austere Colossal Youth is the kind of film that must usually look for its exposure in those areas beyond the remit of commercial distribution, where cinema meets moving-image gallery work… Colossal Youth demands to be seen more than once: a first viewing just about lets you acclimatise to its mesmerically slow pacing, visual stillness and incantatory verbal rhythms." - Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound
Selected by Julian Graffy, Roger Koza, Michel Lipkes, Kieron Corless, Jesús Piquero.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

2003 / USA / 100m / Col / Children's/Family, Animation
Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Geoffrey Rush, Andrew Stanton, Elizabeth Perkins
"Pixar Animation Studios' wonderful new aquatic fable tells the story of Marlin (Brooks), a nervous, fearful clown fish searching the big, wide ocean to find his rebellious son Nemo (Gould), who was scooped up by a fisherman. The movie's stunningly rich visualization of an undersea wonderland is matched by a sense of humor that is fresh, sure of itself, and devoid of the cutesy, saccharine condescension that drips through so many family comedies." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Omer M. Mozaffar, George Kuchar, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Kristian Lin.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Capturing the Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans

2003 / USA / 107m / Col / Family & Personal Relationships, Documentary
Arnold Friedman, Elaine Friedman, David Friedman, Seth Friedman, Jesse Friedman, Howard Friedman, John McDermott, Frances Galasso, Joseph Onorato, Anthony Sgueglia
"So many of us have joked - and in our darkest moments, wondered - exactly what family films would reveal about us and those bound to us by blood… Andrew Jarecki has made exactly that self-absorption the heart of his engagingly evenhanded and intelligently assembled first feature. Essentially, that's what the film is about, the American middle-class obsession with documenting innocuous daily life with eight-millimeter cameras, and now videotape. Mr. Jarecki assembled film from a continuing familial tragedy and shrewdly wove it into a grim, watchable wormhole narrative about a family's decades-long tumble into shattering denial, lies and abuse." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Jon Garaño, Martyn Pick, Alexandra Zeevalkink, Al Brown, Amy Flanagan.
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Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty

2012 / USA / 157m / Col / War, Action Thriller
Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, Jason Clarke, Fares Fares, Frank Grillo
"After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the CIA make al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a prime target… It’s a relatively new kind of American patriotic war movie, counter-programming jaded paranoid fantasies like the Bourne movies or the liberal horror stories thrown up by the War On Terror. It’s measured, seething with suppressed emotion, unafraid of slow stretches and false trails, snapping shut like a mantrap when blood is shed… Gripping throughout, with an impressive central performance, this is like a Dogme 95 redo of a Chuck Norris film — by heroic effort, the good guys find and kill a bad guy. How you feel about that is something Bigelow leaves you to decide." - Kim Newman, Empire
Selected by Paul Whitington, Ty Burr, Andrew O'Hehir, Manohla Dargis, Owen Gleiberman.
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Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge!

2001 / USA-Australia / 126m / Col / Musical, Romance
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, Kerry Walker, Kylie Minogue
"If a feeling is too intense to put into words, then put it into song. That’s an artistic mandate that applied for millennia to all forms of drama (Greek tragedy, Italian opera, Hollywood movies), though later audiences found it laughably peculiar. Leave it to Baz Luhrmann, the unreconstructed Aussie romantic who infused Shakespeare with an urban urgency in Romeo + Juliet, to go both retro and now-tro in a musical that blends MGM and MTV. It’s a convulsive love story daubed in a giddily gaudy palette, with the never-prettier Nicole Kidman entrancing hunkily soulful Ewan McGregor in an orgasmic swirl of color, design and pop music." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Marwan Hamed, Ahmed Atef, Wei Te-Sheng, Kerem Akca, Richard Corliss.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Adaptation

Adaptation

2002 / USA / 114m / Col / Comedy Drama, Satire
Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Judy Greer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston, Jay Tavare
"Spike Jonze and the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman concoct an intricate, scrambled parallel universe populated by anxious, itchy people, some appearing really to exist. The hero is Mr. Kaufman himself (Cage), a screenwriter struggling to adapt The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean's nonfiction meditation on flowers, obsession and Darwinian theory. He is tormented by writer's block and by his twin brother, Donald (also Mr. Cage)… This is a remarkable, impossible movie — about itself but also about its own nonexistence — and one of the most formally audacious, intellectually charged American movies in quite some time." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Brie Larson, Jennifer Lynch, Michael Brooke, Mark Duplass, Leonard Maltin.
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The Turin Horse

The Turin Horse

A Torinói ló (original title)
2011 / Hungary-France-Germany-Switzerland-USA / 146m / BW / Drama, Slice of Life
Janos Derzsi, Erika Bok, Mihaly Kormos, Ricsi
"There are no direct answers, and the mastery of The Turin Horse is that its meaning or meanings are there for the taking. Tarr works in mesmerising harmony with his cinematographer Fred Kelemen (shooting in long shots and velvety blacks) and composer Mihály Vig (adopting a hypnotic dirge that rises and falls with a sense of import). Together, they lead us magnetically through the routines of this austere pair – taking out the horse, fetching water, eating just one boiled potato each for dinner… It feels like the creation story in reverse – a terrible, unavoidable walk into the dark." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by Pere Portabella, Arturo Ripstein, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Jaan Ruus, Jiří Barta.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Syndromes and a Century

Syndromes and a Century

Sang sattawat (original title)
2006 / Thailand-France-Austria-Netherlands / 105m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Arkanae Cherkam, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Sophon Pukanok, Manasanant Porndispong, Wanna Wattanajinda, Apirak Mittrpracha
"Syndromes and a Century is a poem on screen: a film of ideas and visual tropes that upends conventional narrative expectations, not out of a simple desire to disconcert but to break through the carapace of normality, to give us the knight's-move away from reality that the Russian formalists said was the prerogative of art. It's a movie to be compared with the work of Antonioni - or Sergei Parajanov… If you want a film as challenging and exhilarating as the most weird and wonderful exhibition at Tate Modern, if you are bored with all the usual boilerplate material coming out of Hollywood, or even if you're not, then this is a film for you. Try it." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Jonathan Romney, May Adadol Ingawanij, Diego Lerer, Sarah Turner, Aditya Assarat.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

2003 / USA-New Zealand / 201m / Col / Epic, Fantasy Adventure
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan
"Long live the king! The Part 3 jinx that plagued The Matrix, The Godfather and the original Star Wars can't contaminate The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. New Zealand director, producer and co-writer Peter Jackson does author J.R.R. Tolkien proud by turning his tome into a film epic by which all future film epics will be judged. King pops your eyes, excites your senses and brings you in as close as a whisper for scenes of startling emotion. Many reviewers who resisted the two previous films have come aboard to hail King, as if the series has only now kicked in. Bull. All three films are equal and indispensable to the tale being told." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Jon Favreau, R. Kurt Osenlund, Jonathan Lack, Roque Baños, Wuershan.
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Distant

Distant

Uzak (original title)
2002 / Turkey-Netherlands / 110m / Col / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Muzaffer Ozdemir, Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer, Nazan Kirilmis, Feridun Koc, Fatma Ceylan, Arif Asci, Nazli Aydin, Ahmet Bugay, Ebru Ceylan
"Distant, a moving character piece from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, clearly derives some of its sensibilities from the hallowed cinematic churches of Andrei Tarkovsky and Yasujiro Ozu (and there's a little Chekhov, too, in his approach)… Distant works subtly on the senses and the brain. A story that observes silent behavior as much as talk, that looks down streets and sees things we normally wouldn't notice, it's a movie of powerful accumulation. The compositions are masterful, especially the snow-covered scenes in Istanbul and, most memorably, the spectacle of an overturned ship in the wintry harbor." - Desson Thomson, The Washington Post
Selected by David Stratton, Nick James, Hussain Currimbhoy, Andrew Haigh, Matt Boyd.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Bu san (original title)
2003 / Taiwan / 82m / Col / Comedy Drama, Showbiz Drama
Kang-Sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Kiyonobu Mitamura, Tien Miao, Chun Shih, Chao-Jung Chen, Kuei-Mei Yang
"The poet and critic Parker Tyler once described the movie theater as the "psychoanalytic clinic of the average worker." Tsai Ming-liang's latest feature puts one such clinic under analysis. Goodbye Dragon Inn concerns the inner life of a poured-concrete cavern in the heart of Taipei… Because the theater is about to shut down, there's a superficial resemblance to the canned nostalgia of Cinema Paradiso. But Goodbye Dragon Inn is far less sentimental and considerably funnier than the old Miramax pocket liner. And because Tsai is the director, Goodbye Dragon Inn is also a movie of elegant understatement and considerable formal intelligence." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Zachary Wigon, Lorenzo Leone, Cesar Zamberlan, Lalitha Gopalan, Monte Hellman.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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Songs from the Second Floor

Songs from the Second Floor

Sånger från andra våningen (original title)
2000 / Sweden-France-Denmark-Norway-Germany / 98m / Col / Surrealist Film, Black Comedy
Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson, Hanna Eriksson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson, Torbjorn Fahlstrom, Sten Andersson, Rolando Nunez, Lucio Vucina, Peter Roth, Klas-Gosta Olsson
"This beguilingly entertaining absurdist comedy played the Cannes Film Festival, and scenes from the picture still float in my head. The writer-director Roy Andersson uses the wide screen to compose chillingly beautiful shots and locks the camera in place as the often humorous action unfolds. The movie eschews conventional narrative, choosing to build, in discrete episodes, on the horrifyingly hilarious revelation that Fate rolls into everyone… Songs From the Second Floor, an example of an unsung genre, is a heartbreakingly thoughtful minor classic, the work of a genuine and singular artist." - Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Selected by Mike Leigh, Lone Scherfig, Andrew Kotting, Ruben Östlund, Babak Jalali.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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In Vanda's Room

In Vanda's Room

No Quarto da Vanda (original title)
2000 / Portugal-Germany-Switzerland-Italy / 170m / Col / Drama
Lena Duarte, Vanda Duarte, Zita Duarte, Pedro Lanban, Antonio Moreno, Paulo Nunes, Fernando Paixao
"Pedro Costa’s longest and most challenging film is also the one in which he most fully discovers his present method (shooting beautifully composed tableaux without camera movement in digital video, with scripted dialogue) and subject matter (immigrants from Cape Verde and junkies, all nonprofessional actors playing themselves, inhabiting hovels in a Lisbon slum that are audibly and visibly being razed)… Sandwiched between Costa’s Bones and Colossal Youth, which feature some of the same people and settings, as well as comparably exquisite lighting and employment of color, this is passionate and demanding chamber cinema of a very special kind." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Volker Pantenburg, Un-Seong Yoo, Rebecca Shatwell, Javier Packer-Comyn, Michelangelo Frammartino.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films
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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile (original title)
2007 / Romania-Netherlands-France-Germany / 113m / Col / Drama, Slice of Life
Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Ion Sapdaru, Teodor Corban, Tania Popa, Cerasela Iosifescu, Luminata Gheorghiu, Adi Carauleanu
"The story of two college girls negotiating the treacherous currents of a drab police state to secure an illegal abortion, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a movie one watches in a state of mounting dread. Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster. Set in 1987, 4 Months moves from the shabby clutter of an overcrowded college dorm, through the dimly lit streets of a provincial city, to a rundown Stalinoid deco hotel… For all its long behavioral takes, 4 Months is remarkably unshowy. The movie is as drained of color as the girls' faces. Daily life is a hellish adventure." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Lukas Moodysson, Jeon Chanil, Ognjen Svilicic, James Franco, Mania Akbari.
See also The 1,000 Greatest Films